During this phase of the project I assessed the content and functionality of the UN Washingtom DC website. And after consulting with the team, we determined on a 7-menu navigation bar. Therefore, I created a site map to reflect the pages and the basic content for each page. All the pages would have the same header including a 7-page navigation menu, social media links, PayPal donation button and links to stay informed. The homepage (landing page) would include a slide show of the key images that have text superimposed describing aspects of the organization to give visitors a visual representation of the organization. It would also include a newsfeed from RSS or twitter feed.
This phase of the project included meetings where the team shared ideas and information. After extensive research, a team member made a comprehensive list of websites of local UN chapters around the country. The board members were asked to provide a photo and short bio for the Meet the Board section. A determination was made to model the site after the UN Washington DC area website http://www.unanca.org. Therefore, using this as guide, I analyzed the site map and assessed its features.
Desired website features
- Newsfeed (either a twitter feed or an RSS feed from the UN Foundation)
- Meet the board page where there will be a photo, name and title of each member
- News and events page (in a blog format)
- Affiliation organizations page
- PayPal donation link inclusion
- Mobile friendly design
- Login capabilities where there are different permission levels each of which can do different things (e.g., add and edit posts, admin for full access)
- It was decided to do this site on WordPress content management system
This is the first in a series of blog posts indicating my progress while developing a website for the United Nations Oklahoma City Chapter.
In order to add to my experience in creating websites, I sought a non-profit organization who would likely need a website to suit their needs. After speaking with several organizations most already had their website needs met. Then I realized the local chapter of the United Nations organization had a website similar to the older style like that of the Dot Com era. Therefore, I contacted them. As it turns out, I knew three people on the board of directors. So I approached one of these acquaintances and he thought it was a great idea and confirmed it with the board. Then, an ad hoc team was assembled to dedicate efforts to build the website.
The WordPress content management system is very versatile for creating blogs and websites. Installed, it comes with basic features and plugins. However, in order to expand its functionality, we need to use plugins. There are plugins that provide a variety of functionality including: SEO, backup, security, eCommerce, analytics, contact forms, etc. Many of these types of plugins are available for free or for purchase. However, if you need a function to be accomplished that the existing plugins do not offer, then you can write a plugin.
What are hooks? Hooks are functions that reference internal functions in Word Press. First thing to know is that when a WordPress web page loads or is refreshed, a number of internal functions execute. You will not see these functions execute unless there is a problem with their execution.
For instance, when the page loads, one of the internal functions is admin_notices. The purpose of this function is to display notices in the header area of the admin area, if there are any to be displayed. If you want to display text in this area it is necessary to use an add_action hook. Syntax is shown below …
add_action( ‘admin_notices’, ‘function_name’);
Let’s say that the said function_name uses HTML to echo a character string. When the page is refreshed and the admin_notices function is encountered in the wordpress page execution, then the execution of the said function_name is added to it. Therefore, the character string that the function echos will display in the admin_notices area.
I participated in a team with Susan Simkins (@SusanMSimkins) and Jason Kaplan (@JasonM_Kaplan), fellow Web Design and Development students. We spent the day with Neill Harmer (@neillharmer), a local web designer who has build websites since the late 1990s. He offered instruction and guidance on creating a mockup for a client who would need a website. This guidance included advice in how to have a design meeting for non-freelancers. And the designer would only be concerned, so to speak, in gaining an understanding of the likes and dislikes of the organization in regards to design. As the designer, you have to sell your design. That is, be prepared to explain why your particular design would suit the client’s needs.
Susan, Jason and myself were in a mock client-designer session where Neill played the part of the client who didn’t know much about design (although he was teaching us the process). We asked him questions such as why he liked particular website examples and why he did not like others. We found that he (as client) would contradict himself. Susan was the lead designer for our team so she had final approval of questions and design decisions.
Then, we moved to the design stage. The mock client had provided a folder of company images and it was our job to decide which ones to use in the design. Susan created a style tile (http://styletil.es/) which allow designers to present general design ideas to a client in a short period of time without creating a mockup which could take more. The style tile allows choices of color, fonts and general layout.
With the style tile and mock in progress, Jason and myself wrote an “About” section about the company for the mockup. It reads “Planning to move? We at Dumb and Dumber Movers, Inc. pride ourselves in assisting customers with the necessary tips and supplies to simplify residential or commercial moving. Even with our funny name, we offer great service at affordable rates. We look forward to assisting your next move.”
Sometimes clients don’t know what they want with design. And when you are in the design meeting with the client, ideally there is one or two people as liaisons between you, the designer, and the organization. In other cases, designers might have be in a situation where there are 12 people of the organization in the design meeting. This can be very frustrating for the designer since you would have to filter all the ideas of participating individuals.
Key things to keep in mind:
- stay in control of the meeting – you are the smartest person in the room (in your field). Remember your company was hired by them [the client]
- don’t be intimidated
- don’t use laptop to take notes
- don’t dress like a lawyer, clients may be wearing suits
- play the part, dress appropriately (e.g., shorts are ok)
- if designing a logo, simple logos are good, much better than busy logos
It is best to use paper and pencil to take notes since the client cannot see what you are writing (if across the table) if taking notes on a laptop. Even though using a tablet with a writing stylus, is better than using a laptop, pencil and paper is probably best.
And in the age of social media, there are many platforms in which an organization can share information: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ to name a few. Some companies also have blogs. Sometimes organizations and individuals have blogs and social networking accounts whose content have not updated for a long time. This could be up several months to several years. So if a client says they want links on their website to social media and their blog. You need to know if those respective devices are current. If not, then it would be better to advise the client to not include links on the site as they would do more harm than good. Will have to educate clients in this area if they are unfamiliar.
My first day at South by Southwest was a success. Today I met people from nearly every continent on the planet. It is amazing the see the global reach of this festival. As a “Newbie” I became acclimated to the SXSW culture. And after speaking with others, the experience of being turned away from a breakout session due to a venue reaching full capacity is more or less the norm. If you really want to attend a particular breakout session, arriving 20 or 30 minutes may not be early enough. You might be more successful arriving an hour earlier. But there is a silver lining if this happens … the fact that at another time, you might be standing line next to some one who is a speaker, or the product development manager for a key technology in the industry – allowing the opportunity to learn something new.
Today I attended a mobile developer meet up. And the environment was very cool. Participants gathered while being encouraged to mingle … then move to another person’s table the, meet new people. Tell them what you do, and give them an opportunity to say what they do.
During this meetup, I met the representative for a content strategy company who is looking for developers. Not for relocation, per se, but for offering an affordable solution for their clients.
I was approached by a venture capitalist looking to provide funding for a new business. Also, I was asked to play a native app game targeting an 8 year old children. The developer was watching to see how I played the game (what options I chose to make the cow’s milk squirt and knock over the barn silos.) Then, I was able to meet the development team of a company who created a iOS native app that is a personal organizer. While this is in the alpha testing phase, the app uses hash tags as the database primary keys.
I look forward to the days to come at this conference before being greeted by the neighborhood pitbull upon arriving home.
In the course of the PixlFest project, our team (PixlCrew Susan, Reiko, Daniel and Carl) is proud to present a branding message for the Third Annual event at Francis Tuttle’s Rockwell Campus. We have created a logo that reflects the image we aim to achieve, catching the eye with an original font superimposed on a stock pixel image. We have further communicated our brand with a mobile website, flyer and single color version of our logo for the t-shirt design. Please refer to the additional references below:
• Website was designed and tested on iOS smart phones only
• Use of stock image [for logo background] has been granted by http://www.bigstockphoto.com
• Use of [original] PixlFest font has been granted by Susan Sayarath.
• Brushes and additional font part of Adobe PhotoShop package.
Our team includes the following members:
Susan Sayarath, Graphic Communication
Bio: Utilizing the skills for which I am learning a Francis Tuttle, I would like to pursue a career in fashion photography. In doing so, I want people to see my perspective of visual surroundings.
Reiko Hiroya, Graphic Communication
Bio: I am learning skills in the Graphic Communication program at Francis Tuttle. I would like to expand my networking skills to ultimately become a professional photographer.
Mobile Web Designer/ Narrative Author / Project Manager
As a Web Design and Development student nearing completion of the program, I am working as a freelance web developer. I stay abreast of the changes in technology and seek to expand my career as a freelancer. http://www.danielklineweb.com